Commencement 2004 ceremony filled with words of promise
[Full transcripts of the speeches are available at http://www.hws.edu/academics/registrar/commencement/2004.asp as well as a photo page]
GENEVA, N.Y.– “Hardball” host Chris Matthews sent the graduates from the Hobart and William Smith Colleges Classes of 2004 on their way after offering five bits of advice–get in the game, don't be afraid to ask, follow your dream, hang on to your ideals, and learn how to compete passionately.
The tips were intermixed with stories. Matthews talked about returning from his work in the Peace Corps 33 years ago and searching for a job on Capitol Hill. Prior to entering journalism, Matthews served as White House aide and speechwriter to President Jimmy Carter, as well as a top aide to former Speaker of the House Thomas P. O'Neill, Jr.
Matthews concluded his address by reminding graduates they “leave one of the nation's finest liberal arts colleges – Hobart and William Smith – with two gems for which men and women have long come to America: a rebellious spirit that keeps government in check and people free; and an only-in-America attitude that anything is possible.”
“They are this country's crown jewels and today, through the grace of God, hard work and hope, they are yours,” Matthews said.
The ceremony marked the 179th Commencement for Hobart College and the 93rd for William Smith College. A total of 424 bachelor's degrees were awarded to 183 students from Hobart College and 241 from William Smith College.
In his valedictory address President Mark D. Gearan urged graduates to remember the importance of mentorship and civic engagement. “I am confident that you will take your Hobart and William Smith degree and make a difference in this world. We have done our best to prepare you for a life of meaning and satisfaction for a fulfilling career with all of the challenges that lie ahead. Now it's your turn. Find a mentor. Be a mentor. And be an active citizen in our great democracy. Now is the appointed time,” Gearan said.
Student addresses were given by Evan A. Griswold of East Stroudsburg, Penn., and Heather M. Harris of Morgantown, W.Va.
In addition, five honorary degrees were awarded to Matthews, financial adviser Will K. Weinstein '60; Emily H. Fisher, founder of the Fisher Center at HWS; Grady E. Jensen '44, retired business executive; and Chinese politics scholar Elizabeth J. Perry '69.
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The Hardball Briefing, an e-mail that goes out to approximately 46,000 members of Hardball's listserv, featured the Colleges and Matthews' address at Commencement:
Briefing subscriber and Communications Director for Hobart & William Smith Colleges Susan Murad checks in with a dispatch from Chris' commencement address yesterday in Geneva, NY….”As Mark Gearan stated in his Valedictory address, “Do you realize how long I have waited to have the last word on Chris Matthews? Can you imagine the joy I have in knowing that Chris just has to sit there while I have the last word?” Brought a big laugh from Chris and applause from the assembled crowd. The students really enjoyed Chris' speech – they were very responsive to him – I believe all beach-ball tossing halted while he was delivering his “five bits of advice”! It was a gorgeous day and a great event.” Speech verbate http://www.hws.edu/news/speakers/transcripts/matthewscomm2004.asp